When does perfectionism become an unhealthy habit?

I used to think perfectionism was wanting to edit “one last time” too many times.

I now believe perfectionism can spoil my whole writing process and cause undue stress.

So here are some pitfalls that to be a consistently good writer for learning you must avoid.

Perfectionism becomes unhealthy when you mix it with self-doubt and undermine your creative productivity.  To speed up and enjoy your writing, become a writing pragmatist . . .

  1. Idea Generation

(a) A perfectionist aims to find THE best idea

(b) A pragmatist finds a good idea and runs with it.

Modlette Tip: To vet your ideas, ask yourself

  • Does this help my learners?
  • Do I feel excited to write this?

2. Research

(a) A perfectionist aims to write the definitive learning

(b) A pragmatist aims to share a useful learning experience.

Modlette Tip: To avoid endless research

  • Narrow down your topic
  • Focus on what you know
  • Don’t get carried away on tangents

3. Outline

(a) A perfectionist wrestles to fit “everything” into an outline

(b) A pragmatist follows a proven template to create an outline

Modlette Tip: A simple outline

  • Intro and objective – out lining a problem
  • Main body – explain the steps to solve it
  • Conclusion – inspire learners to implement your advice.

4. First draft

(a) A perfectionist wants to write perfect sentences

(b ) A pragmatist focuses on getting ideas on paper

Modlette Tip: Feeling stuck?  Set the timer on your phone, write “ugly draft” at the top of your page, and get your fingers moving by typing nonsense.

5. Revision

(a) A perfectionist is appalled at the flaws in their first draft

(b) A pragmatist notices what’s good already and improves the rest.

Modlette Tip: When revising, focus on one task at a time: improve focus, enhance flow or add examples to clarify your points.

6. Edit and Proofread

(a) A perfectionist frets over minor blemishes

(b) A pragmatist prioritizes communicating with clarity

Modlette Tip: Proofread on paper, read your text aloud, or read it backwards to spot spelling mistakes.

7. Publish

(a) A perfectionist listens to her inner critic

(b) A pragmatist is excited to help her learners

Modlette Tip: Create a mini-checklist to evaluate whether your content is ready for loading into your Modlette.

  • Your content is valuable to learners
  • You’ve done your best (given the time available)
  • You’ve checked for silly mistakes

Happy and successful pragmatism.